GLAMi nomination: ArtLens App

nominated by: Emily Hirsch, Cleveland Museum of Art, USA
institution: Cleveland Museum of Art
category: Museum-Wide Guide or Program

The new ArtLens App is a completely re-engineered version of the Cleveland Museum of Art’s award-winning collection application. Despite maintaining the same name, the new ArtLens is a comprehensive overhaul of the app. Listening to user feedback, the CMA ensured that the new ArtLens has enhanced its usability. ArtLens is now faster and more user friendly, and the app download time has been reduced to 30 seconds. Improved optimizations have reduced the size of the app making ArtLens comparable in size to popular social media apps like Snapchat. The redesigned interface is clean and intuitive and the wayfinding map is more responsive, now using iBeacons throughout the museum and outside to improve accuracy and eliminate the need for paper maps. ArtLens now uses Bluetooth to connect to the museum’s iconic ArtLens Wall rather than RFIDs, making synchronization seamless. Improvements to the maps and new descriptions of each gallery make finding the information or artwork easier for visitors. ArtLens may be used on-site or from anywhere in the world. ArtLens’ combination of visual and audio content allows an accessible experience for those who are sight or hearing impaired.

ArtLens features improved, intuitive way-finding, eliminating the need for paper maps.

A collaborative creation, ArtLens combines the most current technology and innovative design with a wealth of interpretive content provided by the museum’s curatorial and interpretation teams. ArtLens includes a high-definition image and object information about every artwork on display in the museum and is updated in real time, ensuring that users have access to the most accurate information available. ArtLens enhances the visitor’s museum experience by providing the option to design individual tours, offering tools to better understand artwork through augmented reality, and guiding users with interactive real-time maps. The ArtLens App will be integral in the experience of the upcoming ArtLens Exhibition, opening Summer 2017, by saving all the artwork visitors interact with during gameplay, along with user-generated content.

A visitor at the Cleveland Museum of Art uses ArtLens’ augmented reality scanning feature to learn more about an artwork.

ArtLens features include:
Galleries: The most significant changes to ArtLens are in the “Galleries” feature with updates to the maps, content, wayfinding and nearby objects. Galleries are color-coded and grouped thematically to facilitate easier navigation. Tap any gallery number to see what type of art is on display in that location or find gallery descriptions by tapping the gallery name.

Wayfinding: Create a path to explore artworks. Push the “Find Me” button at any time to find your exact location in the museum, then search an artwork and tap the gallery number to find exactly what you are looking for and how to get there.

Content: All artworks on display are identified and findable in ArtLens, with additional multimedia content, including more than 1,500 videos, available for selected artworks. New content is generated on an ongoing basis. Changes to any object on view are dynamically and immediately updated from the backend systems across the app and throughout the museum.

Nearby Artworks: Nearby artworks that might be of interest are suggested based on the artwork selected.
Scanning: Using innovative image-recognition software, ArtLens seamlessly recognizes a selection of two-dimensional artworks and provides additional curatorial and interpretive content.
You: Favorite artworks by tapping the heart icon on the ArtLens Wall or on individual artworks in the ArtLens App. All favorites are saved under “You.” Favorites can be used to create personalized tours, find specific artworks in the museum or share on social media.

Search: Search by artist’s name or by keyword to discover corresponding works on view in the museum. Find the exact location of an artwork identified on a map with a quick tap on the gallery number.

Tours: Select from both museum-curated and visitor-created tours. The mapping feature locates specific artworks and navigates the entire tour. Choose to create a personalized tour that may be added to “visitor-created tours” and shared with the world.

Bluetooth: ArtLens now uses Bluetooth to connect to the ArtLens Wall making synchronization seamless, as well as the interactive activities in the new ArtLens Exhibition.
Top Ten: Explore the museum’s dynamic list of visitor favorites, as well as curators’ top picks of must-see artworks.
Museum: Get a daily snapshot of exhibitions and events occurring at the museum as well as the location of restrooms, restaurants and exits.

ArtLens is available to download for free on iOS and Android devices in the App Store or Google Play.


From CMA: Jane Alexander (Chief Information/Digital Officer), Tom Barnard (Senior Designer), Bethany Corriveau (Audience Engagement Specialist), Adam Gall (Project Manager), Tom Hood (Director of Technology Operations), Niki Krause (Director of Application Services), Jeffrey Strean (Director of Design and Architecture), Lori Wienke (Associate Director of Interpretation)

The CMA collaborated with Local Projects on the ArtLens App. Local Projects is the firm that takes the app to the next and highest possible level of technical fidelity, ensuring a rapid initial download, optimizing the interactive, real-time wayfinding maps and streamlining the design.
From Local Projects: Ethan Holda (Director of Technology), Keeli Shaw (Project Director), Karen Vanderbilt (Senior Graphic Designer), Danny Well (Visual Experience Designer), Edward Blake (User Experience Designer)

From Enharmonic: Dillan Laughlin, Jonathan Saggau

ArtLens is supported by Swagelok.